Eight Miami Hurricanes legends were inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame during its 46th induction banquet Thursday at Jungle Island. Prior to the inductions, senior LB Denzel Perryman was presented with the Walter Kichefski Endowed Football Scholarship by Don Mariutto Jr.
With the addition of the eight newest members, the Sports Hall of Fame will increases to 282 honorees. The Class of 2014 included Andre Johnson (football, 2000-2002), James Jones (basketball, 1999-2003), Jeff Morrison (baseball, 1978-81), Wyllesheia Myrick (track, 1998-2002); Clinton Portis (football, 1999-2001), Rio Ramirez (diving, 1997-99), Javy Rodriguez (baseball, 1999-2002), and Lamar Thomas (football, 1988-92).
It was a fun night with eight inductees going in, including former NFL back Clinton Portis and James Jones of the Miami Heat. Pat Riley and Eric Spolstra took part in the early going to support Jones who once played on a middle school team with Johnson. Andre later told me that all five starters from that team eventually played Division 1 ball. But four played football with Jones being the only one taking a basketball scholarship. Jones told a story about a discouraging day when Ed Reed and four other Hurricane football players beat the basketball players in a pickup game.
We know and love Andre Johnson for his 11 years with the Texans. It was strange yet familiar to see the adoration for him in Miami where he won a national championship that I was fortunate to announce as the then Voice of the Hurricanes. It’s hard to imagine that he actually redshirted his freshman year and didn’t even play much in his first season of eligibility because Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne were in front of him.
Physical play is part of Johnson’s calling card but, interestingly, he said that his former receivers coach Curtis Johnson (now head coach at Tulane) used to accuse him being ‘soft.’ It fired him up and made him tougher. The two still talk all the time.
Another Canes great, Michael Irvin, presented Johnson with his jacket. Both Irvin and Johnson have college championship rings but Irvin has Super Bowl jewelry and Andre is still trying. He’s starting over again as the Texans reload following their most crushing season. Year 12 of the Andre era starts in September. The Texans will have to work fast if they are to help the franchise’s greatest player hoist the Lombardi Trophy.